The Butterfly Effect Analysis

When we make decisions in a moment in time do we really understand the effects they will have in a week, or month or year? We truly have no idea and for that we can never really predict our future. Whether the decision is a good one or a bad one that choice will forever have a lasting effect on whatever else comes next in life.

I, along with my classmates got an opportunity to see in full a movie that was all about lasting effects of choices we have made. The Butterfly Effect, a SCI-FY thriller created by the producers, Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber which was released January 23, 2004. A great choice to experience all that we did, the visuals of the film brought to life the real concept hidden within the story. The very concept of the Butterfly Effect, which is a part of the Chaos Theory. The theory states that “something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wings can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world,” coming from Fractal Foundation of Science, Math and Art also states that “it may take a very long time but the connection is real.” I truly believe in this theory and I truly believe our lives are connected to the decisions we have to make every day even if we don’t know it will happen. I very much enjoyed this film for the reason of making us feel like we as the viewers were really taking this footage. The effects of colors, camera angles, fading and blurring of scenes really helped with my understanding of what the producers as well as the philosophers of this theory wanted me to understand; that each decision no matter how small can create such large effects even if it comes later in life.

The biggest thing that I tend to pick up on when watching movies is the choices of prominent colors that are significant to the issues that are happening within the film that constantly reoccur. I do this so I can better understand what the real meaning is. During The Butterfly Effect, I noticed one color that was in many scenes that were subtle but they meant something or were there to show corresponds to the situation and color. Now I know many movies such as Schindler’s List and The Sixth Sense also use this technique to show a significance to the color that continually will be throughout the film as a representation of a concept or meaning. In all three films, the color Red has been the color of choice that would be reoccurring but it isn’t there just because. The color Red in many films such as The Butterfly Effect are classified as Suspenseful or a Thriller to elude to a “Gothic” sense of effects and style.  According to Bourne Creative the color Red associated with Gothic themes in films is linked to anger, chaos, love, rage, and violence. These meanings I felt were appropriate because the film also had these meanings in the movie as well.

The first scene that I really noticed had a lot of red was when Evan was dropped off to “play” with Tommy and Kayleigh at their house while their dad watched them, to then realize he was abusing them. The basement walls I noticed were dark red as well as the lights that were on. We all know that was traumatic for Evan because he blacked out from it. Here we can notice that color red was used to symbolize terror and rage and violence that was building up in Evan as he goes back into his memory to try and stop the Father from abusing them. Red is a very powerful color that symbolizes a lot of different feelings which we see when Evan goes back and is brave enough to stop the abuse. It also amazes me, someone who never has experienced a terrible memory, to see that the brain can literally suppress horrible situations and act like they never happened to protect us.

The next scene that I was nervous about but happy about as well was when Tommy, Kayleigh  and Evan all had gone to the movie theater and right off the bat I noticed the red walls of the theater. This is the same time that Kayleigh leaves the movie because she was upset and of course Evan followers her out to ask if she is okay. At this moment they both kiss. Connecting the fact also that Evan has a crush on Kayleigh and this kiss turns it into love. Red is the color most people associate with love and passion, which this scene having the red walls help create the right theme for love. At this same time, tommy has seen the kiss and this enrages him which is also associated with red and the significance that having the walls red would be linked to. The littlest things that were not very noticeable played a huge part in showing what the true messages were in the different scenes. We could see by Evan making the choice to kiss Kayleigh would now lead to Tommy being destructive and violent and that one choice grew to something much bigger in Tommy’s actions that no one would think of.

The next major scene that I thought there was an overpowering scheme of red was when college Evan went out to dinner with his mother and this was right after Evan started to go back to the memories he blacked out of and is now trying to remember them. It has only ever been Evan and his mother so I felt there was an obvious amount of red for their love and relationship over all these chaotic and crazy years. The restaurant was full of red napkins, red center pieces, and most important red roses. Red roses are a symbol of love. Seeing all of the red in this scene we can pick up almost immediately that Evan’s relationship with his mother is very important and she has been by his side throughout his life knowing he was suffering with these wild unexplainable happenings. Along with this scene they wander to a fortune teller, her room was also full of red everything! At this point the fortune teller tells Evan he has no life line and was never meant to be born. This unfortunately un-loads the emotions of Evan’s mom and she tells him he was her miracle baby. We can see with all that is going on that there is emotions of anger and rage and more chaos starting to happen.

The last scene I wanted to talk about that actually the turning point in the whole movie for Evan to go back in time and change the way things happened is when he went to go see Kayleigh, after years when he left her behind when they were younger. Kayleigh was wearing a red jacket. This may not feel very significant but it just re-enforces the idea that Evan loves Kayleigh and that brought us back to the idea of their shared passed of violence and anger. After Evan talks to Kayleigh she is upset that he never returned to save her from her abusive life as a child and that night she kills herself. This causes Evan to bring back all of his memories and try to make small changes in the past to help set Kayleigh free of her terrible life as a kid. By Evan doing so, he didn’t notice but it changes his whole life going forward because certain events that happened were now different due to his change of the past. I am realizing at this point that the colors are allowing me to pick up on the major points of the film and relating them back to all of the choices Evan has re-created that is ultimately altering his future as well as all of the people in life. The chaos is being created with the factors of love, anger, violence, hurt, pain and rage are all coming from the choices Evan is doing to try and make life better for the people he feels he has hurt.

With the effects of color being so little yet stand out so much it helps me to understand that whole meaning to this film. I fully understand that the choices and decisions we make today will forever hold a lasting effect in our future. We may never know why something happened to us the way that it did but it came from a choice we made in the present. I think that the producers wanted to feel and see how the littlest changes can create the largest effects in the future, not only to us but to the people who we care about.


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